7 Hidden MacBook Features You Should be Using Right Now!

During the years, macOS took a quantum leap in terms of design with the arrival of Big Sur. Apart from the visual changes on top, there is a stack of features underneath, added to macOS every year. Given that you’re entirely new to macOS or have owned a MacBook for a while, these hidden MacBook features will take your workflow to the next level.

With that said, here are some of the hidden macOS features that you should know right now. You can thank us later for these features.

Best Hidden macOS Features in 2021

macOS keeps updating every year, and it brings new features with it. Sometimes these features are on-surface and easy to find, while some of them are buried deep in System Preferences, or you might haven’t heard before. So here is a compilation of the best-hidden features of macOS for your MacBook, iMac, Mac Mini, and Mac Pro.

1. Transform Your Screen’s Corners into Shortcuts

Your Mac comes with a good set of features, and these are pretty handy sometimes. However, if you have a problem learning them, macOS has an alternative—Hot Corners. This feature is one of the hidden MacBook features that only a few know.

Hidden MacBook Features: Hot Corners
Hot Corners Settings (macOS Monterey)

With Hot Corners, you can turn your display corners into any shortcut you want. You can hover your mouse over any corners, and the shortcut will execute to the one you chose.

Here’s how you can set up Hot Corners on your Mac. Go to System Preferences > Mission Control, and then select Hot Corners. Next, select the dropdown menu of the corner you want to assign a shortcut. Assign the shortcut on the respective corner, and you should be good to go.

You can choose to put display to sleep, open Launchpad, show Mission Control, and much more. With the upcoming macOS Monterey, you’ll be able to take a Quick Note using one of the Hot Corners.

2. Access Universal Media Player from the Menu Bar

Hidden MacBook Features: Now Playing on Mac
Now Playing on Menu Bar (macOS Monterey)

It’s always a problem to switch back and forth between apps to change the song or video playing in the background. However, Universal Media Player allows you to control the media from any app or website on any browser.

Whether it be Apple Music, YouTube, Netflix, you can handle everything from there itself. You don’t need to go to the app itself to access the media controls. By default, it enables when media starts playing on your Mac.

Hidden MacBook Features: Now Playing Settings on Mac
Now Playing Settings (macOS Monterey)

If you don’t have it on your Menu Bar, you can enable it by going into System Preferences > Dock & Menu Bar > Now Playing and turning on the Show in Menu Bar option. From the dropdown menu, you can choose to show always or when a media is playing actively.

3. Use the Full-Fledged Screenshots

You might know the Cmd + Shift + 3 shortcut to take screenshots. But Mac comes with a built-in screenshot tool that can enhance how you take screenshots on your Mac. It’s way better than using the Screenshot shortcut or the QuickTime Player’s Screen Recording.

Hidden Mac Features: Screenshot Tool
Screenshot Tool on MacBook (Photo by Sajid Shaik)

This screenshot tool lets you capture a selected portion of your screen, a selected window, or the entire screen. You can also use the screen record options in two ways — Record the whole screen or a selected portion. From the options menu, you can customize the way screenshot works on your Mac.

To access this on your Mac, all you need to do is press Cmd + Shift + 5 keys. You can access the selected portion screenshot option using the Cmd + Shift + 4 keyboard shortcut. It’s quite a fantastic hidden MacBook feature.

4. Type Emojis with Ease!

It gets annoying when you’ve to type emojis on your Mac when the app doesn’t have a dedicated emoji button. macOS comes with a dedicated Emoji Tray in such cases.

Hidden MacBook Features: Emoji Tray
Emoji Tray in TextEdit app (macOS Monterey)

Whenever you’re typing something on any app in macOS, you can use the Control + Cmd + Space shortcut key on your keyboard to summon the Emoji tray whenever you want. That said, you can add it to the Menu bar to make it more accessible.

Input Sources Settings on macOS
Input Sources Settings (macOS Monterey)

To do that, head over to System Preferences > Keyboard > Input Sources and enable the Show Input Menu in the Menu Bar check box. Then select the newly added icon on the Menu bar, and select the Show Emojis & Symbols option from the dropdown. A hidden MacBook feature that makes your life a little bit easier.

5. Do More with Spotlight Search

You might be aware of Spotlight Search on macOS. You can quickly launch any app with a simple search. All you need to do is hit Cmd + Space on your keyboard to get into Spotlight search.

Hidden macOS Feature: Do More with Spotlight Search
Flight tracking with Spotlight Search (macOS Monterey)

But do you know, you can do a lot more with Spotlight search on your Mac. You can do calculations, conversions, search for people, products, companies, and do much more. And yeah, you can also track your flights right here. Just type them in the Spotlight Search, and you’ll get answers to everything. Spotlight Search is always handy, and using it for everything makes it one of the most underrated hidden MacBook features.

6. Quick Preview

When you want to open and go through many files quickly, you open the file. It takes a lot of time to go through each file, and the time stacks up opening them. You can reduce this by using the Quick Preview feature on Mac. It’s a hidden MacBook feature that you might have no idea.

Instead of opening the file by double-clicking it, you can select the file and hit the Spacebar on your keyboard to quickly preview the file in a small window to take a glance at what’s inside the file.

Hidden MacBook Feature: Quick Preview
Image Quick Preview (macOS Monterey)

However, remember that there might be some files that aren’t supported. Still and all, you reduce your time by a significant amount when going through those files.

7. Change Brightness and Volume in Small Increments

There might be times when you had to hit a specific volume level or brightness spot, but you can’t. We can do it from the Control Center, but there should be an easy method. MacBook users with Touch Bar can do it quickly. A hidden Macbook feature (or shortcut) that most of us won’t use often.

Hidden MacBook Feature: Incremental Brightness and Volume
Changing brightness in small Increments (GIF by Mihai Constantin)

That said, if you have got a Mac without a Touch Bar, then you can use this shortcut to control brightness and volume levels in small increments letting you hit the perfect spot for your needs. Press the Option + Shift + F1 and F2 for brightness control, and Option + Shift + F11 and F12 for volume control.

Try These Hidden Mac Features

macOS offers plenty of features to ease the workflow for any productive user. However, most users overlook these hidden MacBook features. If you try these hidden Mac features, you’ll make the most out of your MacBook any given day.

These were some of the features that we found out by accident or someone shared on the internet. However, if you’ve got some hidden MacBook features to share with us, you can leave them in the comments below. It’d be helpful for your fellow readers. Also, let us now know what was your favorite hidden MacBook feature among these.


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